Just last week we taught an LEO injury prevention and fitness class to a small city department. To call this department ‘budget challenged’ is an understatement, but what a great group of LEOs. As is normal to what we teach, there is no equipment needed for passive and active stretching. All an officer needs is their own body and some creativity. Foam rollers, which we have written about here extensively, can be purchased for between $20-$45 dollars and are worth their weight two times over in gold. Read this column about why ALL LEOs need to foam roll at least 5 times per week. http://www.officer.com/article/10891100/whats-in-your-fitness-tool-box
The challenge that this and many departments face is that there is limited space, equipment, time and frankly good scientific knowledge of how to train on a budget. I will be the first to tell you that it’s not very hard and when done right can produce a job specific fitness area that is both time and budget friendly.
The science says that LEOs get hurt from a many things that we can prevent. Sitting too much, doing unsafe exercises that we learned 15 years ago… did they work then? Not properly “mobilizing” our body prior to hands on training. Personally I spend 15 minutes on my foam roller and massage ball before I stretch then I am physically ready to enter the dojo and get my Kenpo on. The same goes for you: roll it, massage it, stretch it and THEN train it. Failure to follow that methodology means that you have turned your back on the science and are taking short cuts. Unfortunately the data says that those short cuts cause pain and injury!
However I digress; let’s get back to simple workouts. Let’s say all you have access to are some dumbbells, maybe an old bench and some floor space. Awesome; we are ready to go! Since you already went back and read the article on foam rolling before you train your warm up is complete, right? Our goal with this workout is simple - get strong and get tactically fit fast.
Days per week: 3, this allows two days for sustained cardio of at least 30 minutes. Nothing too hard as the weight routine will fatigue your legs.
Rest between Sets: No more than 45 seconds.
Click on this link to download a PDF of the entire workout.
Have fun, watch your form and listen to your body. If you get sore or that old knee injury starts to bug you, get back on the roller, use your massage ball and stretch. A few of these exercises require a lunge motion. Lunging is a great way to sneak in flexibility, balance and strength with just one exercise. Pay close attention to your knee; keep it in line with your hips. Make sure your torso is upright and head is up at all times.
If you like this exercise format please let us know. It’s a sample from a new project we are working on to make fitness safer, easier and more applicable to law enforcement while keeping it all scientifically valid. Work out smarter not harder!